As COVID-19 swept through the world, countries started implementing lockdowns and stay-at-home orders to different degrees. Many professionals were forced to continue working from home. For many academics and researchers that means virtual instruction and maintaining scholarly activity and service, while also dealing with the consequences of the quarantine including homeschooling and taking care of children or elderly relatives and dependents, as well as other obligations. These circumstances brought to light the unique challenges faced by women engaged in scholarship.
Anecdotal accounts from journal editors suggests a decrease in manuscript submissions from female-identified authors since the start of the pandemic, while submissions from male-identified authors increased substantially (Inside Higher Education, April 21, 2020). These trends highlight the gendered dimension of scholarly productivity that often leave women at a disadvantage as a result of carrying unequal loads.
The purpose of Phase 1 of this research was to investigate women and non-binary scholars’ (i.e. phase one) experience in terms of scholarly productivity during COVID-19. Results from this phase will be published as six manuscripts. Qualitative methodology was used in analysis of the findings for phase 1.
The expanded Phase 2 questionnaire aimed at scholars of all gender identities, includes a series of open-ended questions, understand common factors that influence productivity and how these factors were affected by the consequences of the global pandemic. Additional deeper analysis will be done on certain identities, e.g., partners and parents, as optional for participants.
The list of open ended questions as well as additional surveys was created by the research team based on our collective and different identities and our shared experiences as scholars. Questions for phase 2 of the research have been influenced by our findings from phase 1 as well as slowly emerging literature on this area.
Both qualitative and quantitative methodology will be utilised in this deeper exploration including the use of surveys such as the Couples Satisfaction Index (CSI; Funk & Rogge, 2007) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10; Cohen, Kamarek, & Mermelstein, 1983) as part of the optional topics available to participants.
The research team has a regular Zoom meeting where we came together to review articles in the media and collectively develop the project and the questions. All information is shared across team members following IRB (ethics) guidelines and utilising OneDrive.